Published In

Michigan State Journal of International Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Subjects

World Bank Group, Social and Environmental Safeguards, Environmental Standards, Corporate Environmental Standards, Equator Principles

Abstract

This article explores the extent to which the World Bank's Environmental and Social Guidelines now serve as standards of acceptable global environmental and social behavior for transnational corporations. Although the World Bank Standards were not created for the purpose of providing global rules for business on social and environmental issues, they are frequently cited as de facto global standards. This article reveals the unlikely rise in prominence of these standards and the widespread adoption of these rules by corporations, public and private financial institutions, governments, and export credit agencies. This example of private borrowing of public standards is intriguing not only for the consequences for individual projects. In highlighting the importance of an unconventional source of global environmental norms, this study focuses attention on unusual suspects in global environmental governance and the increasing attraction of international standards in an era of "regulation by information".

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